As the parent of 2 children at St George's, I realise I quickly fall into step with the rhythms of the school year.
September carries the rush of getting acquainted with the new schedules and new teachers. We learn that swimming is on Wednesday instead of Tuesdays, Games will be on Monday, gym on Friday and spelling quizzes will be held every Friday. Everything has to have a name tag sewn on and bed times are rigidly enforced to avoid the morning time crunch of breakfast, getting dressed and joining all the other parents in traffic queues whilst dropping off.
October carries the realisation that we are nearly halfway through the first term and we need to book our Christmas party or we will miss out on the best on offer. And we know that the time for the Harvest Festival is drawing near.
For Nursery parents, this is a time of incredible anxiety. You are never quite sure how your child will react when faced with standing in front of a hundred or so parents and being asked to perform.
I was particularly concerned with Abigail. Hopefully, you have read in my previous post that Sebastian's first performance was done holding the hand of the Pre-Prep Head the entire time. I don't think he opened his mouth to sing a single line. He just stared out at the mass of people with pure fear written all over his wee little pudgy toddler face.
Abigail was a bit of an unknown. She has proven to me time and time again this school year that she is full of surprises.
At home Abigail is bossy. She never tidies up her toys. She never listens. She whinges and whines when she doesn't get her way. She is bossy and winds Sebastian up until he loses his temper with her.
I warned the Nursery teachers before she started and apologised for my shortcomings as a parent. I was hoping they could do better than I had done.
Earlier this week Marc and I went to Abigail's teacher conference. I thought she was telling us about all the other children. But no, she was referring to Abigail.
Apparently she is kind and compassionate to her classmates. She is helpful to her teachers and always does as she is asked. She listens to stories intently and willingly participates in all activities. She volunteers to help around the classroom.
And apparently she can count, recognise her colours and even knows all of her shapes. She'll even tell them how old she is. she refuses to do any of this at home. She pretends to not know how to count and flat out denies having any recognition of colours (except for pink). If you ask her old she is, she will reply either 2 or 4 but never the correct answer of 3.
The teacher told us she was having us on. How reassuring.......
Sometimes Abigail can be a bit shy around strangers. When she is first introduced she hides behind me until she gains confidence which can take several hours and usually we've long since gone when she decides to warm up. She refused to speak to her godfather, Simon, all afternoon a few weeks ago. During the drive home she announced she loved Simon.
Abigail loves to perform around the home. She's got numerous microphones and is always putting on shows for us and the neighbours and some close friends. But knowing that the Harvest Festival was going to put her in front of all those people I was convinced she would stand with her back towards them and refuse to participate.
Boy, was I wrong!
Year 1, Reception and Nursery performed together and the wee little Nursery children were seated at the front. The school had reserved the front seats for the Nursery parents and when Abigail marched in I was delighted to find she was standing nearly in front of me.
She was brilliant. She sat quietly when she needed to sit quietly. She stood when she needed to stand. She sang songs when it was her turn. She even played an instrument. Well, she knocked together her two rhythmic sticks almost in time with the music occasionally with a bit of extra flourish adding in a few more beats just to keep the party going.
She smiled throughout and really seemed to be enjoying herself. I'm not sure she even noticed all the other people. She seemed happy just to be performing for her mummy and daddy.
I was happy to see just her perform. She could have been a show of one. She's a natural. I'm sure every other parent in the room felt the same way.
And that's the first of many Harvest Festivals!